2016 Portland Seafood and Wine Festival

A cold, overcast Saturday afternoon is a perfect opportunity to stay inside and taste wines from a variety of wonderful NW winemakers.  As is typical for me, I made a list . . a plan of attack, if you will.  I decided to try to visit vintners I hadn’t tried before, as well as a couple favorites.

Our first stop was Paul O’Brien Winery. I met Scott Kelley at last years McMinnville Classic – SiP and simply fell for his Grenache and Petite Sirah.  So, of course, I was all over those.  He surprised me with his 2013 Pinot Noir from Umpqua Valley.  He had blended Dijon clones 114-115-667-777 into a beautiful symphony of aromas, textures and flavors that were superb.  My initial whiff reminded me of a candy dish, sweet fruit and berry scents.  The texture was smooth and multi-layered.  His Grenache and Petite Sirah were both flavor bombs . . . loaded with fruit, deliciously well balanced and smooth all the way through.  My wife sampled (and loved) his Moscato as well.  Beautifully sweet without that cloying, syrup nature some have.  Really refreshing.

Cubanisimo Vineyardsis located in the Eola Hills AVA and has been on my radar at nearly every festival we’ve been to, but as yet they hadn’t made my list.  After trying Mauricio’s 2013 Rumba Pinot Noir, I am thoroughly amazed it took me so long.  This is an extremely well balanced wine, subtle, very smooth and enticing. This is a wine I will happily come back to visit again.

Hanson Vineyards is a small, family owned operation in the Cascade Foothills outside of Woodburn.  I stopped in specifically to try their Cascadia Blend.  A gorgeous mixture of Marechal Foch and Pinot Noir greeted my nose and my palate like old friends.  Smooth and multi-layered textures washed over my tongue and satisfied my curiousity.  The Foch is very prominent and the Pinot serves as an “administrator of tannins”.  The combination is a synergy of attributes that serves each well.  Highly recommended.

Seasons Cellars was our next stop . . . I was especially intrigued by their Phoneix.  It is a Super Tuscan blend.  .Sangiovese, Carmenere, Syrah and Cab Sauv.  Very delicious.

Cardwell Hills Cellars is a producer of fine Pinot Noir wines.  I got a chance to try their 2013 Reserve and their 2013 Old Vine Pinot.  The Reserve, like most, is a blend of the best barrels in the cellar for that vintage and it did not disappoint.  Quite fruit-forward and well balanced for a cool vintage.  The Old Vine is a Wadenswil only, single clone Pinot.  Not sure what I was expecting. . . but what I discovered was a very superb, smooth, and delightful wine.

We HAD to stop by Willamette Valley Vineyards booth.  Not only were they the BEST of SHOW for this festival with their 2014 Estate Pinot Noir, this was our firt opportunity to sample the NEW 2015 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir.  There was NO disappointment.  The new Whole Cluster is just as delicious as the 2014.

2 Hawks Vineyard and Winery was one of my last stops.  This was their first foray into the festival scene.  I went specifically to try their Red Tail Red.  Unfortuantely for me, they only brought 2 varietals to the show . . .Chardonnay and Tempranillo.  So, of course I had to try the Tempranillo.  WOW!  Such a fruit-bomb . . . super smooth and very well crafted.

The last stop was Spangler Vineyards. They produce quite an array of warm weather varietals.  Their Cabernet Franc is exactly what I like. . fruity and balanced.  Their Claret is superb . . . better than others of tried of the same blend.

Altogether a really fun excursion and one I will do again next year.



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